Trent and Mersey Canal

From Academic Kids

The Trent and Mersey Canal is a canal linking the River Trent at Shardlow in Derbyshire to the River Mersey at Runcorn in Cheshire. It runs for 93.5 miles (140km), providing a connection from north-west England to the East Midlands, and was opened in 1777.

The idea of a canal connection from the Mersey to the Trent ("The Grand Trunk") came from canal engineer James Brindley. It was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1766 and the first sod was cut by Josiah Wedgwood in July that year. Less than eleven years later, the whole canal, including more than 70 locks and five tunnels, was open.

A special feature on the Cheshire stretch of the canal is the Anderton Boat Lift, the world's first boat-lift. Until the construction of the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, it was the only boat-lift in the United Kingdom.

Another major feature is the Harecastle Tunnel, near Kidsgrove in north Staffordshire. There are actually two tunnels. The first tunnel, built by Brindley was 2880 yards long; barges were 'legged' through by men lying on their backs and pushing against the roof with their feet. This was a physically demanding and slow process and created major delays, so leading civil engineer Thomas Telford was commissioned to provide a second and wider, parallel tunnel, with a towpath. This 2926-yard-long tunnel was opened in 1827. In the 1900s, the Brindley tunnel was closed due to severe subsidence, but the Telford Tunnel - although also prone to the same problems - remains in use, and is the fourth longest navigable canal tunnel in the UK.

See also

no:Trent og Mersey-kanalen

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